Borland is handing over control of its Paradox desktop database to Corel in a shock move which will effect millions of users worldwide.
Under a deal announced last week, Paradox, a licensed component of Corel's Office Professional suite, will be handed over lock, stock and barrel to its new owner next October.
The move comes against a background of problems at Borland, which is struggling financially, cutting back staff and losing key developers to rivals.
Borland will continue to receive royalties from Corel for sales of Paradox.
Unusually for a deal of this type and something which is certain to worry users, is the fact that the Paradox development team will stay at Borland.
Simon Levin, research director at the Gartner Group, said: "Corel is not taking on something as simple as a spreadsheet."
He doubted Corel has the necessary skills to support developers building client-server solutions, an area where Paradox is frequently deployed.
"There are people who earn their living from building applications in Paradox," Levin noted.
John Midwinter, an independent software engineer and a Paradox user since the product first came on the scene in 1984, expressed reservations about Borland's ability to keep abreast of developments once the product was handed over.
"As a (Borland) Delphi developer I am worried. In the past, the links between Paradox and Delphi have been very strong," he said.
Matthew Price, sales and marketing director at Borland UK, said the company has been going through a transition phase of tackling new markets since the sale of Quattro Pro to Novell in 1993. "We are now focusing purely on software development tools and growing into new markets such as the Net. It would seem logical to move this stuff (Paradox) to Corel ... as a part of its office suite."
Corel appears to have taken on more than it can chew. It is all very well bringing on board a database to build a complete office portfolio.
But Paradox is more than a database. It is a complete development tool, with its own language and a legacy of developers. These people are creating real-world, client-server applications in Paradox. They will want the support of an organisation which has had past experience in such areas.
Corel is simply not up to the job.
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